Raiders of the Lost Ark
Vol: 46 Issue: 1 Friday, July 1, 2005
My friend Dr. Randall Price wrote a book some years back called, “Ready to Rebuild’ about the preparations being made in Israel to collect the items necessary to restore Temple worship on Temple Mount.
When I was in Israel in 1992, I went to the Temple Mount Institute located in the Old City within sight of the Temple Mount, literally under the shadow of the al-Aqsa Mosque that now sits atop the Jewish Holy of Holies.
There, I was granted an interview with its director, Rabbi Chaim Richman, who explained to me that the Temple Mount Institute was preparing for the coming Third Temple by recreating the necessary implements of Temple worship, including ceremonial lavers, a solid-gold Menorah, the bronze implements required for handling the sacrifices, and have computerized looms on which to weave the seamless linen worn by the priests.
Over 200 priests from the tribe of Levi have now been trained to serve in the Temple.
Special Temple priests are being raised in Israel on elevated platforms to ensure that there are priests available for service in the Holy of Holies who have never been ritually defiled by setting foot on the ritually unclean land of Israel.
Richman told of miraculous events that had begun to take place after the Jews regained the Old City in 1967, as God began to execute His timetable for the redemption of the Jewish people in the last days.
For example, the royal blue dye required for the garments of Temple worship came from a certain marine snail that was thought to be extinct. A few years ago, this snail suddenly and miraculously re-appeared in the Red Sea.
Also, the ashes of an unblemished red heifer are required to cleanse the priests. The existence of these animals was questionable, but after searching the world, embryos were finally found in Europe and transplanted into cows on an Israeli cattle ranch.
That herd now numbers about 500, according to Temple authorities, although a pure, unblemished red heifer has yet to be produced. (Several years ago, one WAS born that passed rabbinical muster, but as it approached two years of age, several white hairs appeared in its tail, disqualifying it. But several new potential candidates are now being closely monitored by rabbinical authorities.)
Events in Israel continue to follow the prophetic timeline, as this generation is being prepared for events to take place in accordance with the prophecies of Scripture for the last days.
Events are beginning to conspire together at break-neck speed as the time approaches. Not only do we have the peace treaty of Daniel 9:27 in view, but we also have the physical Temple preparations nearly completed.
The prophet Daniel spoke of the antichrist’s confirmation of a seven-year false peace between Israel and the ‘many’ that will kick off the Tribulation Period. The failed Oslo Agreement, which continues to be the blueprint for each new ‘peace initiative’ was originally scheduled to run for exactly seven years, with the final two years of the agreement set aside to settle the ‘final status’ of Jerusalem.
Of course, Arafat scuttled Oslo and broke all of its terms, but the underlying principles of ‘land for peace’ set forth by Oslo remain the foundation for each successive effort.
Daniel says the antichrist ‘confirms’ — not originates — an existing seven-year framework for peace based on the principle of ‘dividing the land for gain’. To ‘confirm’ an agreement, one must first exist.
Everything is coming into alignment. The al-Aqsa Mosque continues to occupy the space where the First and Second Temples once stood, but Rabbi Richman told me that he is confident that, when the time arrives, God will somehow remove that obstacle so the rebuilding process can move forward.
(It is significant to note that, in the years since I met with Rabbi Richman, several earthquakes, together with massive excavations undertaken by the Waqf authorities now in control of Mount Moriah, have significantly weakened the foundation upon which the Mosque now sits).
According to the Apostle Paul, the Third Temple is NOT the antichrist’s Temple, because Paul says that the antichrist, “as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4) If the Bible calls the Third Temple ‘the Temple of God’ then the New Testament record makes the Third Temple as legitimate as either the First or Second Temples.
This fact provides an important clue about the timing of the Rapture of the Church, as well. The Church Age is also known as the Age of Grace, since, during the Church Age, ‘by grace are ye saved through faith’ (Ephesians 2:8).
But Scripture says that the Tribulation Period is the Seventieth Week of Daniel, the final seven years set aside, specifically for Israel, to accomplish God’s six-fold plan for Israel’s ultimate national redemption.
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)
The purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week is to accomplish all that is promised uniquely to the Jews (Daniel’s people, and Daniel’s holy city of Jerusalem). Daniel’s seventy weeks were interrupted by the Crucifixion of the Messiah, and the subsequent destruction of the Temple by the Roman legions on the 9th of Av, AD 70.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
During the Church Age, any Jewish Temple would be illegitimate, since by definition, this is the Age of Grace, whereby ‘no man comes to the Father but by Jesus Christ.’
But during the final 7 years of the Dispensation of the Law, God’s attention returns to the Jews, and, according to the Apostle Paul, the rebuilt Temple will be the ‘Temple of God’. To this end, the Jewish Sanhedrin was reconvened earlier this year (for the first time in more than 1600 years.)
The Church plays no role, which is why the Church is not mentioned anywhere in Scripture in the context of Daniel’s 70th Week.
As Paul told the Thessalonians, “we have not yet been gathered unto Him” so the Day of Israel’s national redemption, the “Day of Christ” (see Zechariah 12:10) is not “yet at hand”.
The Apostle Paul says that when the antichrist enters the ‘Temple of God’ in the last days, he sits down at the ‘Mercy Seat’ which is atop the Ark of the Covenant, sitting ‘as God’.
For that reason, Bible prophecy scholars are united in the expectation that somehow, someday, the Ark of the Covenant (and not a replica) will be found and restored to Jewish hands.
When Nebuchadnezzar’s invading armies sacked the Temple in 586 BC, 2nd Chronicles records that they carried off the Temple treasures, which were painstakingly recorded in detail.
Missing from the inventory was the Ark of the Covenant, which, given its importance, can only mean it was spirited away by Temple priests and hidden to prevent its desecration.
2nd Maccabees, one of the 13 books of the Apocrypha, records the removal of the Ark for safekeeping:
“It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremy came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremy perceived, he blamed them, saying, As for that place, it shall be unknown UNTIL THE TIME THAT GOD GATHER HIS PEOPLE AGAIN TOGETHER, and receive them unto mercy. ” (2nd Maccabees 2:4-6)
(While the Books of the Apocrypha are not part of the canon of Scripture, they were considered of such historical importance that they were included under the subsection “The Apocrypha’ in the 1611 translation of the King James Bible)
In light of all this, a report by Judi McCleod in the Canada Free Press is of particular interest. Dr. Vendyl Jones, an archeologist who has been searching for the lost Ark since 1972, says he believes he has located it, “hidden in a secret passage that runs 18 miles south of the Temple Mount into the Judean desert.”
Rabbi Adin Israel Steinsalz, head of the Institute for Talmudic research and thought to be the world s most renowned Talmudic scholar called Jones work, “Scientifically valid research which may result in important findings for the Jewish people and the world.”
Dr. Jones plans to bore a hole in the spot where he believes the Ark is, drop in a tiny camera, and share what he finds with the world on August 14th of this year. If the Ark is there, the resulting shockwave will set the entire dynamic of the Middle East status quo on its ear.
The Ark of the Covenant is not just a sacred relic of Judaism. The Ark of the Covenant is mentioned more than 240 times in the Old Testament as not just a symbol, but as the place where the Shekinah Glory of God exists on this earth.
The word ‘Shekinah’ means ‘Divine presence’ because that is what the Ark contains.
Numbers 12:8-10 says that when the children of Israel began to speak ‘against Moses’ and questioned his legitimacy as a prophet of God, God appeared to them directly from the Ark, saying,
“With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses? And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and He departed. And the cloud departed from OFF THE TABERNACLE . . .”
The ‘cloud’ was the Shekinah Glory of God, and the ‘tabernacle’ was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark isn’t merely a symbol, neither is it an inanimate object, but a Divine object with Divine power.
That is not to say the Ark is God-in-a-box, but that the Ark is of Divine origin and design, and its Divine power is part of the Mosaic Covenant, hence its name, ‘Ark of the Covenant’.
During the journeys in the wilderness and before the Temple was constructed, the Ark went before the people; and when it was lifted up they said: “Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee from before Thy face!”
According to Scripture, the Ark was the visible sign of God’s presence and protection. This appeared in the most striking manner in different circumstances.
When the spies who had been sent to view the Promised Land returned and gave their report, murmurs arose in the camp, which neither threatenings nor even the death of the authors of the sedition could quell.
Against the will of God, many of the Israelites went up to the mountain to meet the Amalekites and Canaanites: “but the ark of the testament of the Lord and Moses departed not from the camp”. And the enemies came down, smote, and slew the presumptuous Hebrews whom God did not help.
At God’s command, the Ark was carried in procession around the city of Jericho for seven days, until the walls crumbled at the sound of the trumpets and the shouts of the people, thus giving the assailing army a free opening into the place.
When the Ark was being transported on a cart, the oxen bearing the cart slipped, and one of those in the procession, Osa, son of Abinidab, reached out his hand and touched the Ark to steady it. 2nd Kings records that the moment his hand touched the Ark, Osa was immediately struck dead.
I don’t know if Dr. Jones has actually discovered the genuine Lost Ark of the Covenant, but Scripture says that it will be recovered at some point in this generation and will be returned to Jewish control for the first time since the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC.
I am trying not to get too excited . . . rumors of the Lost Ark’s location have been around for years. Dr. Jones THINKS he’s discovered it, but Geraldo Rivera once thought he’d discovered Al Capone’s vault, too. Still, it is hard NOT to get excited (as you can probably tell).
The timing is much too convenient to Bible prophecy for this to be automatically dismissed out-of-hand. It is important to remember that the Ark has been lost for more than twenty-five hundred years.
There hasn’t been a Jewish Temple in almost two thousand years. There had not been any place on planet earth called ‘Israel’ in twenty-seven hundred years — until May 15, 1948.
Now, suddenly, in a single generation, after all those millennia, Israel’s rebirth and continued existence has become the focal point of global attention. The ‘final status of Jerusalem’ is the seminal question of our day. The Jews are preparing the implements of Temple worship, despite the existence of Islam’s most visible symbol sitting directly over the Holy of Holies.
The key issue of Bible prophecy during the Tribulation demands the eventual recovery of the Lost Ark of the Covenant. It is at least possible that issue will be resolved, as early as the middle of next month.
Then, there are the words of Jesus to consider:
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:32)
What are the odds that all these events, spanning thousands of years, would come together in a single generation, somewhere in time, precisely as prophesied, as part of some cosmic coincidence?
Many thousands of times the odds of accurately predicting the winner of the 2155 World Series, including the various team standings that brought them there. Who could even predict there will even still be major league baseball 150 years from now?
Yet the Bible predicted, thousands of years ago, in writing, all these disparate events that would take place in a single generation, somewhere in time.
The Ark of the Covenant, according to Scripture, is the key to Jewish victory over her enemies. It is destined by God to be returned to its rightful place in the Holy of Holies, currently occupied by the al-Aqsa mosque.
It is fair to say that no power on earth could induce the Islamic world to surrender what it claims to be the third holiest site in Islam.
But the Ark, constructed in strict accordance to Divine blueprints, the repository of the Shekinah Glory of God, His Divine Presence, is not OF this earth. We’ll be watching Dr. Jones and his team very closely come August 14th.
If we are still here, that is.